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Take a panoramic tour of the ISS's Columbus laboratory

Jenny Winder, News Writer
Jun 13, 2015, 18:32 UTC

Sen—The European Space Agency (ESA) have released the first in a series of panoramic photos of the interior of the International Space Station.

The images were taken by ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti during her six month stay aboard the orbiting outpost. The first set of images provide a tour of ESA's Columbus space laboratory.

The Columbus laboratory is ESA’s largest single contribution to the ISS and the first European laboratory dedicated to long-term experimentation in weightlessness. It offers 75 cubic meters of space and contains ten internationally standardised racks, each the size of a telephone booth, to accommodate experiment equipment. There are also two external facilities attached to Columbus that are exposed to the vacuum of space.

For the panoramic tour, each section of the Space Station took around 14 fisheye photos stitched together. More modules will eventually be added making the entire Station available to explore. Start the tour here.

Construction began on the ISS when the first module, Zarya, was launched on Nov. 20, 1998. More than 115 space flights were conducted over the course of the station’s construction. Columbus was launched on Feb. 7, 2008 aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis and was attached to the Harmony module on February 11.

Cristoforetti returned to Earth on June 11 after setting a new record for the longest single duration mission for ESA astronauts and all female astronauts.

Expedition 44 crew members remaining on board the ISS include NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Commander Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko

For details of every human who has been in space since the first spaceflight of Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961, including who is in space now and their previous missions, check out Sen’s human spaceflight app.


Long exposure photo of ESA's space laboratory Columbus—part of the International Space Station. Image credit: ESA/NASA